The largest annual number of grants and awards in its thirty-one year history has been distributed by The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education for 2020. Twelve recipients received a total of $230,000, ranging from $45,000 to $5,000. The award ceremony that was to be held March 17 at LEDucation in New York had to be cancelled, and recipients were notified by mail. This year’s grants and awards brought the Fund’s total distribution to $1,440,000 since its formation.

The Nuckolls Fund was established in 1988 to support college level lighting programs that enable students to learn, appreciate, and apply the fundamentals of lighting design, and to recognize the late lighting designer and pioneer lighting educator, James L. Nuckolls. Submittals for financial support from the Fund’s programs are judged annually by The Fund’s Board of Directors. This year, the Board awarded $150,000 as part of the Milham Catalyst Grant, named in honor of Jeffrey A. Milham, president of The Nuckolls Fund for 30 years until his retirement in 2019. He was succeeded by Lee Waldron, FIALD, P resident of Grenald Waldron Associates and Director of Lighting Knowledge for FC Architects.

Milham Catalyst Grants:

  1. $45,000 to Kevin W. Houser, professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, Oregon State University. Dr. Houser, PE, FIES, LC, LEED AP, will develop a sequence of three courses that will form the core lighting curriculum in the Architectural Engineering program. He will be assisted by a group of five lighting professionals. Their program will be shared with lighting educators worldwide. 
  2. $35,000 to Sandy Stannard, LEED AP, IALD Educator, professor of architecture at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. With two colleagues in the architecture program, she will apply the school’s lighting program to encourage architecture and design students to explore the integration of lighting with such topics as health, climate, materials, form, energy, heating/cooling, and affect.
  3. $35,000 to Sandra Vásconez, LC, MS, IALD Educator, a senior instructor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, which currently has undergraduate and graduate programs in lighting. Professor Vásconez’s award will support her program, “Expanding Lighting Education with Online Lighting Certificates.” Assisting will be Jennifer Scheib and Dr. Robert Davis, a former Nuckolls Fund award winner and faculty member who is affiliated with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. 
  4. $35.000 to Professor Seunghae Lee of Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, for the program, “Lighting Design Education Portal.” Dr. Lee, who is chair of the Interior Design Department, developed her program to help students understand the art and science of lighting design from the beginning phase through  post-occupancy.

Nuckolls Fund Grants:

  • $20,000 to the New York School of Interior Design, for the development of a new lighting course, “Health Factors of Lighting and Daylighting,” to be led by Shaun Fillion.
  • $20,000 to Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Architecture, “Shaping Light,” developed by Azadeh Omidfar.
  • $10,000 each to Mejedeh Modarres Nazhad of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for a summer internship with Available Light in Boston; and Glenn Shrum from the Parsons School of Design, for a research residency at Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark.

$5,000 Student Achievement Awards:

  • James Bellovin Scholar Achievement Award: Andrea Young Fierro, Parsons School of Design
  • Jules Horton International Student Achievement Award: Danah Boabbas, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Designers Lighting Forum of New York, to John Sloan, Pennsylvania State University; and to Kasia Kozak, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Deadline for Nuckolls Fund 2021 Grants & Awards:

Announcements of the 2021 Request for Proposals will be made September 8, 2020. The deadline for receipt of applications for grants and awards for the 2021 Nuckolls Fund is January 11, 2021. Distribution to winners will take place March 16, 2021 at LEDucation, time and place will be announced. For more information, visit, or Jeanne Clemente, Fund Administrator,